Another strong showing from Lannan, who improves to 3-0, going 5 2/3 innings, allowing five hits, one walk and no runs on 81 pitches. Heading into the weekend series against Atlanta, the Nationals are up 8 1/2 games on the Braves. Nice cushion.
The Reds keep hanging in there, though (2 1/2 game lead). All four have been ensconced in the top four in the league for some time now.
They weren't supposed to be this good. In hindsight, that sounds great. In all of baseball, everyone thought the Nationals were a year or two away from contention (maybe), if all went well. They wanted him to get a nice slice of the season while games were still mostly meaningful. A contender should wait, sure. They were supposed to be rebuilding, giving their core another good year of maturation.
The Nats are idiots for not starting Lannan for two or three months and keeping Stras in the bullpen to control his innings from the start of the season.
It was more important to them to make sure he gets 160ish innings of work this year... if they start him late and he gets injured, that sets his development back even further (and working out of the bullpen does nothing to help him develop physically into the role and workrate of a starting pitcher).
Plus, Lannan today is probably much better than Lannan-in-May would have been. Remarkable how clutch he seems to have become. They are where they are today because of the rest of their pitching staff, and that's what will get them even further if they have any chance regardless.
(and working out of the bullpen does nothing to help him develop physically into the role and workrate of a starting pitcher).
Yeah from an arm stamina perspective putting a definite starting pitcher in the pen simply to conserve innings is not a good thing.
Plus when starting pitchers are moved to the pen they have a tendency to over throw, which isn't something else the Nats didn't want.
The only way they could have realistically had him around now and for the whole of the playoffs would have been to start his spring training much later than everyone else. But when would that be? How can you go into a season and say we need him to be available for say 9 or 10 playoffs starts? If you try that and they aren't even a playoff team he misses out on a lot of work they would want him to get in.
The umps blew that Kemp run. Kemp was a good three strides away when the tag was made. What is and isn't reviewable in MLB?
The only thing reviewable is home runs. They were testing out a system in which fair/foul calls could be easily reviewed as well (a new camera setup) at some point this season. MLB has this stupid obsession with the "human element" and so seems to go out of their way not to get calls right.
Boy Clippard has been God awful lately. Just serving up fat pitches with no movement whatsoever. He had his run as closer this season, much appreciated. But that's not his natural thing and I don't want him closing in the post-season; disaster waiting to happen.